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Tuesday October 17th, 2017 10:44AM

The Latest: GOP senator criticizes Trump's new Cuba policy

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's new Cuba policy (all times local):

1:49 p.m.

Sen. Jeff Flake is criticizing President Donald Trump's new policy on Cuba.

The Arizona Republican says any policy change "that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people."

Flake, a frequent critic of Trump during the presidential campaign, has been among the most outspoken lawmakers opposed to rolling back the Obama-era detente with Havana. Flake has warned that returning to a "get tough" policy that isolates the island would hurt everyday Cubans whose livelihoods are increasingly rooted in travel and tourism.

He's calling on the Senate's GOP leadership to allow a vote on his legislation that would eliminate restrictions on travel to Cuba by American citizens and legal residents. The bill has 54 co-sponsors.

11:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his administration's new policy on Cuba aims to "empower" the citizens of that country.

The president tweeted while en route to Miami, where he'll announce his plans for halting the flow of U.S. cash to Cuba's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations.

The tweet reads, "Headed to Miami to announce new U.S. policy on Cuba. We are going to empower the Cuban people and hold the regime accountable!"

The new policy is only a partial reversal from that of the Obama administration.

But they will burden the U.S. government with the complicated task of policing Americans' travel to Cuba to make sure there are no transactions with the military-linked conglomerate that runs much of the Cuban economy.

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